Tag Archives: Fruit Growers Supply Company

That Old Barn Update

FGS barn
The old Fruit Growers barn, June 2, 2015

The barn was destroyed by fire the night of June 16, 2015.  A transient caused the fire from a cigarette, thought to be extinguished, but that was not the case.

Routinely, when I am out and about someone will ask me a question about this or that. In many instances, I am able to provide an answer. Every now and then I get stumped with a doozey. In this particular instant, it was the old barn at the east end of Susanville, just past McDonald’s.

The barn sits like a lone sentinal these days. There used to be a small white painted caretaker’s house there, occupied for a number of years by Grant and Lena Trumbull. One of the oddities about the barn is it is far removed from any ranch. After extensive sleuthing it was built in 1920/21 for the Fruit Growers Supply Company, who were in the midst of constructing their new sawmill/box factory nearby. Continue reading That Old Barn Update

Camp 8 – FGS

Camp 8
This old water tank is the last remnant of Camp 8, Photo taken June 18, 2015

Fruit Growers operated a total of 11 logging camps, though Camp Y could hardly be classified a camp. The camps were designated with the first letters of the alphabet, i.e, Camp A. After Camp F closed, the next would be G, the seventh letter in the alphabet, but Fruit Growers switched to numbers when Camp 7 was opened at Bridge Creek.

Camp 8, had the unique distinction of being referred to as Summit Camp, it being on the Summit between Pine Creek Valley and Eagle Lake. Not a great deal is known about the activities at Camp 8. It was the first camp that a young Arthur Anderson went to work. What he remembered vividly was watching the death of his friend Daniel Dragovich, whose skull was crushed in a logging accident near the camp on July 2, 1928. For Anderson this served as a wake up for him, and he decided to change professions. He later became an attorney and in 1972 he was elected Lassen County Superior Court judge, serving one term.

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The Wooden Box

Box Shook
Box Shook at Westwood

What a difference a hundred years make. One of the biggest components in the lumber manufacturing business was box shook. These wooden slats were shipped from the lumber mill, where they would be assembled at a packinghouse in the fruit and vegetable industry. This was prior to cardboard and the majority of produced was shipped in wooden boxes. To understand its impact, take a look at the Depression of the 1930s. Nearly half of all lumber manufactured then went into making box shook.

Cardboard was experimented with during World War I, but it did not prove satisfactory to the growers. Major improvements were made to the cardboard box during World War II, and slowly the grocers accepted the new container. Sunkist was one of the last holdouts in the conversion, and in 1955 discontinued the wooden box for the cardboard box. Continue reading The Wooden Box

Camp A – Fruit Growers

In the summer of 1920, Fruit Growers started their logging operations near McCoy Flat Reservoir, while their Susanville mill was still under construction. Since logging then, was seasonal in nature, they wanted to make sure they would have a steady supply of logs ready when the new mill would be placed into operation in the spring of 1921.

Camp A
Camp A, Fruit Growers Supply Company, 1921

Camp A was the first of ten railroad logging camps of Fruit Growers Lassen Operation. It opened on July 1, 1920. The operation was comparatively small, only logging 720 acres that season. On April 29, 1921 the first woods crews were dispatched by rail, where they encountered three foot of snow on the ground. The first item of business was to remove the snow from the railroad spurs, so that the timber fallers could start work. Within in a weeks’ time, logs were already being shipped to Susanville. In addition, a second camp, known as Camp B, opened three miles to the north of Camp A. Between the two camps, they housed over 600 men.

Tomorrow: The Chester Causeway